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Rubio ‘absolutely’ stands by 2004 Florida proposal to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants

The Washington Post / January 10, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he stands by a 2004 bill he co-sponsored in the Florida legislature to provide in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, saying it was "narrowly" drafted and set specific eligibility criteria.

Rubio said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he "absolutely" stands by the proposal. It required undocumented immigrants to have a certain GPA, to be a graduate of a Florida high school and to have been living in the United States for a certain period to qualify for in-state tuition, he said.

"It was very narrowly tailored to high-performing students who found themselves in a situation where they were brought here by their parents when they were 5, didn't even speak another language except English and, therefore, couldn't attend college because they were being charged like they were from out of state," Rubio said. "They still had to pay for college, but they paid for what people paid when they lived in Florida."

"We didn't legalize anybody. That's the issue here," he added.

In 2014, well after Rubio left the state legislature, Florida Gov. Rick Scott ® signed into law an initiative to provide in-state tuition for illegal [immigrant] students who attended a Florida high school for at least three years.

Rubio said recent claims against the legislation are exaggerated, adding that he believes there have to be "real consequences for violating our laws."

"I continue to support and have supported and sponsored the largest border surge in American history, 20,000 new border agents, 700 miles of fencing and walls, a mandatory e-verify system, entry-exit tracking system to prevent visa overstays," Rubio said.

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The Guardian / January 12, 2016

On immigration, Clinton promised she would not be the next “deporter-in-chief” if elected. But she could not answer whether she would deport children, saying the issue was more complicated than that. When the moderators pressed her for a more straightforward response, Clinton said only that children would receive “due process”.

During the debate, Clinton broke with President Barack Obama and called on his administration to stop the recent deportation raids that have targeted Central American [illegal] immigrants who crossed the border in mass last summer fleeing violence and poverty in their native countries.

“Our immigration enforcement efforts should be humane and conducted in accordance with due process, and that is why I believe we must stop the raids happening in immigrant communities,” Clinton said in a statement. Senator Sanders and Governor Martin O’Malley had already condemned the raids and urged the president to end them.

Clinton said she did not see a “contradiction” between her support for immigration reform and her calls for increased border security, which she said included funding for a fence not a wall.

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Associated Press / January 12, 2016

On Tuesday, House Democrats gathered at a press conference to denounce his policies and release a letter signed by 139 lawmakers calling for deportation raids to stop.

"It's just unacceptable," said Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois. "I've been 99.9 percent with this president of the United States but in this particular case, when his administration sows the seeds of terror throughout the [illegal] immigrant community of the United States and millions of people are affected, that's what I'm going to concern myself with."

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Meanwhile, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, delivering the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, called called herself a "proud daughter of Indian immigrants" and said individuals [illegal immigrants] willing to work hard and follow the law shouldn't feel unwelcome.

But Haley is on the right track in saying:

'We must fix our broken immigration system,' said Haley. 'That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.'

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Sanders is the only non-politician on the Presidential Elections’ circuit (unlike a politician, he’s honest)


Sanders upends foreign-policy critique by Clinton experts: 'I was right' on Iraq

The Guardian / January 19, 2016

After former US officials express ‘concern’ over Bernie Sanders’ ‘out-of-step’ policies on Isis and Iran, surging senator says his war vote sill matters

Bernie Sanders pushed back against global-affairs experts backing Hillary Clinton who questioned the Vermont senator’s grasp of foreign policy, touting his judgement over her experience as he surges in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“On the crucial foreign policy issue of our time, it turns out that Secretary Clinton – with all of her experience – was wrong and I was right,” says Sanders, freshly condemning his then-senate colleague’s 2002 vote to approve the US invasion of Iraq.

While conceding that he has fewer foreign-policy credentials than the former secretary of state, Sanders said he maintains better judgement.

“It is fair to say, in terms of experience, Hillary Clinton was secretary of state for four years and has a lot of experience, no debate about that,” Sanders said. “But there is a difference between experience and judgement. Not only did I vote against the war in Iraq, I helped lead the opposition to that war.”

Earlier on Tuesday, a group of 10* former senior US diplomats and national security officials who are supporting former secretary of state Hillary Clinton released a letter calling Sanders’s foreign policy agenda “troubling” and “puzzling”. The letter-writers characterized Sanders’s strategy to defeat Isis as improbable and his plan to normalize relations with Iran as “out of step” with the current administration.

“The stakes are high,” the diplomats warn in the letter. “And we are concerned that Senator Sanders has not thought through these crucial national security issues that can have profound consequences for our security.”

Sanders told the Guardian that he believed it was “absolutely imperative that we crush ISIS”.

“I believe we have got to learn the lesson from the war in Iraq,” Sanders said. “And that lesson is: we cannot do it alone. We need to do it in coalition. I agree with King Abdullah of Jordan that it must be Muslim troops on the ground, supported by the major powers. US, UK, Germany, France, Russia.

The letter criticized Sanders’ for remarks he made during Sunday’s Democratic debate, when he suggested the US move “aggressively” to normalize relations with Iran following recent developments in the nuclear deal. The letter-writers also criticized an earlier remark by the senator that Iran should forge a military coalition with Saudi Arabia – “two intense adversaries” – and send more troops to Syria.

During the debate on Sunday, Sanders was asked whether he would support the reopening of an embassy in Tehran and the restoring of normal diplomatic relations between the countries, which severed ties in 1979.

“I think what we have got to do is move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran, understanding that Iran’s behavior in so many ways in something that we disagree with,” Sanders replied.

Sanders said he didn’t foresee opening an embassy in Tehran anytime soon, but compared the situation with Cuba, which has in the past year normalized relations with the US.

“I think the goal has got to be, as we have done with Cuba, to move in warm relations with a very powerful and important country in this world,” Sanders said at the debate.

In an earlier statement on Tuesday, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs called Sander’s foreign policy judgement “far superior” and sharpened its criticism of Clinton’s Iraq war vote.

“Secretary Clinton voted for that [iraq] war – one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the modern history of our country and a war which resulted in the kind of chaos and instability which allowed for the rise of ISIS,” said Briggs. “Senator Sanders not only voted against the war but helped lead the opposition to the war. Many of the concerns he raised in 2002 turned out, unfortunately, to be true.”

Multiple reports this week have cited increasing frustration inside the Clinton campaign, as Sanders maintains strong polling support in New Hampshire and Iowa, which will be the first state to vote in the Democratic presidential contest in less than two weeks. The remarks were in response to a letter published on Tuesday by 10 former senior US diplomats and national security officials who are supporting the former secretary of state that questioned Sanders’s grasp on foreign policy, citing his recent comments on normalizing relations with Iran.

* The statement [letter] was signed by:

Jeremy B. Bash, former chief of staff to the director of the CIA and former chief of staff to the secretary of defense;

Rand Beers, former senior US government official in the Obama administration;

Daniel Benjamin, former coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department;

Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former under secretary of state for political affairs during the George W. Bush administration;

Derek Chollet, former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs;

Kathleen H. Hicks, former principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy;

Lt. General Donald Kerrick (Ret.), former deputy national security advisor;

James N. Miller, former under secretary of defense for policy;

Julianne Smith, former deputy national security adviser to the Vice President Joe Biden;

and Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, former under secretary of state for political affairs and one of the key negotiators in the nuclear deal with Iran.

Most of the signees have worked in the administrations of President Bill Clinton, or under Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

The statement came with just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the first contest of the primary election season, and as Sanders has been narrowing Clinton’s lead in the polls.

According to a recent Monmouth University poll, Clinton has 52 percent support with Democratic primary voters nationwide and Sanders with 37 percent. Since the same poll was taken in mid-December, Sanders has climbed by 11 percentage points.

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CNN / January 23, 2016

Donald Trump boasted Saturday that support for his presidential campaign would not decline even if he shot someone in the middle of a crowded street.

"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said at a campaign rally here.

Trump has repeatedly touted his strong support for the Second Amendment and slammed President Barack Obama's recent use of executive orders to expand the reach of background checks needed to purchase a gun.

Asked about Trump's comment after a campaign event in Iowa, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump's top rival for the GOP nomination, shook his head.

"I will let Donald speak for himself," Cruz said. "I can say I have no intention of shooting anybody in this campaign."

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The Financial Times / January 23, 2016

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, is exploring an independent run for president, a move that would further complicate a White House race that has been completely upended by insurgent, anti-establishment candidates.

The founder of the eponymous financial information group who has considered running for president in previous elections is willing to spend $1bn to finance a run as an independent, according to people familiar with the matter.

His decision to explore a White House bid comes as anti-establishment candidates — Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for the Republicans and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats — have taken the 2016 race on an unexpected course. Mr Trump has dominated the GOP field for months, leaving centrist candidates such as Jeb Bush scrambling to stay relevant and sparking panic in the party, which believes that his anti-immigrant rhetoric would make it hard to win the White House.

Mr Bloomberg has commissioned polls to assess his presidential chances in the past, but concluded that he would face insurmountable challenges as an independent because most Democratic and Republican voters rarely switch sides. But with the race for Democratic and Republican nominations upended by the populist campaigns of Mr Sanders and Mr Trump, respectively, the billionaire is more hopeful that an independent campaign could succeed.

It remains unclear how Mr Bloomberg would impact the race. But many of his positions on issues such as the environment to gun control are closely aligned with the Democrats, leading some experts to believe that he would simply hurt the chances of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state who is facing an unexpectedly strong challenge from Mr Sanders. The Clinton campaign said it had no comment on the possibility of Mr Bloomberg running.

Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia politics professor, said Bloomberg had no chance of winning regardless of how much he spent, and said he was "indulging a fantasy" by believing that there were millions of liberal Republicans and moderate Democrats who would support a campaign.

"The former mayor is very liberal on all the social issues, [a] kind of a carbon copy of the Democrats. Whatever percentage he gets will be taken disproportionately from the Democratic nominee," said Mr Sabato. "Believe me, the RNC hopes he makes a bid. Bloomberg could make the eventual Republican nominee, even Trump, competitive in places where he'd otherwise be shut out.”

Some Democrats blame Ralph Nader, the consumer rights advocate who ran for president as an independent in 2000, for helping George W Bush defeat Al Gore.

The news about Mr Bloomberg's possible interest, which was first reported in the New York Times, comes days before Iowa kicks off the first votes of the primary season with its February 1 caucuses. Mr Trump and Mr Cruz, the firebrand Texas senator, are neck and neck in the agricultural state, far ahead of Marco Rubio, the Florida senator and closest centrist to the frontrunners. In the Democratic race, Mrs Clinton leads Mr Sanders in Iowa but only by a few points, and she is trailing the self-declared socialist in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary on February 9.

Mr Bloomberg, with a fortune estimated by Forbes at $38.6bn, won admirers for his achievements as mayor of New York, winning three terms. From his first victory in 2001 to the end of his final term in December 2013, he loomed large on the New York landscape. He helped revive the city in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks of 2001, oversaw a steep fall in recorded crime and passed a landmark smoking ban — something that once seemed impossible.

He also pushed to improve public health, trying — but failing — to limit soft drink consumption. He had more success with efforts to curb carbon emissions and used his own money to start a national movement for gun control, which won him enemies from the right of the Republican party.

The Cruz campaign said it would welcome his entry into the race.

"I don’t want to get my hopes up that the 2016 campaign could be about gun control, cap and trade and big gulps [sodas]," said Rick Tyler, spokesman for Mr Cruz. "Please please run!"

Mr Bloomberg left the mayor's office at the beginning of 2014, returning to the financial information group he founded and taking a more active role in running it, restructuring the company's editorial operation and replacing Matt Winkler, his right-hand man of 25 years with the editor of the Economist, John Micklethwait.

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Reuters / January 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton called the planned inversion by Johnson Controls and Ireland-based Tyco “outrageous,” and said as president she would block such moves using an “exit tax.”

“These efforts to shirk U.S. tax obligations leave American taxpayers holding the bag while corporations juice more revenues and profits ,” Clinton said in a statement. “I have a detailed and targeted plan to immediately put a stop to inversions and invest in the U.S., block deals like Johnson Controls and Tyco, and place an ‘exit tax’ on corporations that leave the country to lower their tax bill.”

Johnson Controls announced on Monday a plan to buy Tyco for $16.5 billion, which the companies said will save $500 million in taxes in the first three years and an additional $150 million a year through tax synergies.

Related reading - http://www.bigmacktrucks.com/index.php?/topic/42799-white-house-refuses-to-step-on-pfizer-tax-dodge/?hl=inversions


Johnson Controls’ $20bn Tyco deal revives inversion debate

The Financial Times / January 25, 2016

Johnson Controls revived a vexed political debate about tax-cutting “inversion” deals on Monday, agreeing a $20bn combination with Tyco International which would move the US manufacturer’s domicile to Ireland.

The industrial tie-up highlights Washington’s failure to stop large companies from fleeing the country’s high corporate taxes, and suggests that inversion deals remain highly attractive to companies struggling to find top-line growth.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, currently leading the Democratic and Republican primary election races, have both promised action to turn the tide.

On Monday, Clinton reiterated her plan to block such deals and introduce an “exit tax” to deter companies from leaving. “It is outrageous when large multinational corporations game the tax code and shelter money overseas to avoid paying their fair share, including through maneuvers like inversions,” she said.

Trump has promised to lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent to keep companies in the US. US companies currently pay as much as 35 percent in tax at home, while in Ireland the headline rate is 12.5 percent.

Bernie Sanders denounced Johnson Controls and Tyco as “corporate deserters”. He said: ”If you want the advantages of being an American company then you can’t run away from America to avoid paying taxes.”

The companies are pushing to complete the deal by the end of the year, before President Barack Obama leaves office.

Their transaction is structured as a reverse takeover that will see Tyco shareholders own 44 percent of the combined group, while Johnson Controls investors will hold the remainder and receive $3.9bn in cash. It values Tyco shares at $34.88, an 11 percent premium to its closing price at the end of last week.

The new company will keep Tyco’s Irish domicile and Cork headquarters, allowing Johnson Controls to create “at least $150m in annual tax synergies”. Other savings will total at least $500m over the first three years.

The combined companies will have $32bn in revenues and operating profits of about $4.5bn, following the planned 2017 spin-off of Johnson Controls’ seating business, which has revenues of $17bn.

The structure of the deal is similar to US drugmaker Pfizer’s $160bn combination with Irish-headquartered rival Allergan two months ago.

Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls has been seeking to focus on energy storage and building systems such as air conditioning, where Tyco’s fire protection expertise will complement its building solutions division.

A deal would mark the disappearance of a corporate name — Tyco — that became infamous in the first years of this century, when former chief executive Dennis Kozlowski and its chief financial officer were convicted in 2005 of stealing $150m and fraud.

The current Tyco International was one of three companies created in 2012 after a break-up of the conglomerate. The other parts became Pentair, which makes heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and ADT, a specialist in building security.

The board of the new company will consist of six members from Johnson Controls and five from Tyco. Alex Molinaroli, chairman and chief executive of Johnson Controls, will initially hold both roles in the new group.

George Oliver, Tyco’s current CEO, will be president and chief operating officer. But after 18 months from the deal closing, Oliver will become CEO and Molinaroli will become executive chairman. A year later, Oliver will become chairman and CEO.

In November, the US Treasury announced measures to make inversions less attractive, but lawyers said that the actions were modest and would do little to stop such deals.


Johnson Controls-Tyco Deal Adds to U.S. Tax Exodus

The Wall Street Journal / January 25, 2016

Johnson Controls is set to become the latest American company to move abroad in search of tax savings—and to do so on the coattails of the dismantled Tyco empire.

Johnson Controls said Monday it will merge with Tyco International PLC and take on Tyco’s Irish tax address. The deal, valued at roughly $14.4 billion, is a so-called inversion that should allow Johnson Controls to lower its tax rate over time.

The merger highlights the self-perpetuating nature of inversions, as American companies that move their legal homes abroad create opportunities for others to follow. Those deals, in turn, further challenge U.S. regulators trying to stanch the exodus of tax dollars overseas.

Tyco was an early expat, decamping first to Bermuda in 1997 and finally settling in Ireland. Over the years, it spawned a crop of spinoffs and subsidiaries that inherited one of Tyco’s most valuable assets: its foreign tax address. When M&A activity rebounded after the financial crisis, those new firms became major players in a wave of cross-border, tax-lowering deals, enabling American companies with about $70 billion in annual revenue to slip out of the U.S. tax net.

Tyco paid 12% of its profit in taxes over the past three years, versus an average 29% by Johnson Controls, according to S&P Capital IQ. Johnson Controls said its effective tax rate before certain items was around 19% over the past two years ended Sept. 30.

In some ways, Monday’s deal has its roots in the accounting scandal that rocked Tyco more than a decade ago. After CEO Dennis Kozlowski’s conviction, breakup artist Edward Breen took over with a mandate to pare Tyco’s sprawling empire, which at the time included companies making products from pharmaceuticals to burglar alarms. Many of the resulting offshoots have become targets for U.S. companies seeking inversion partners, while others have used their lower tax rates to become consolidators, buying U.S. assets—which on average pay higher rates—and squeezing tax savings that way. In 2012, Tyco sold its pump-and-filter business to Pentair PLC, an inversion that moved the U.S.-based company abroad. Last summer, Pentair bought U.S.-based Erico Global for $1.8 billion.

Tyco’s health-care business was eventually hived off into two new companies, both of which have enabled tax-lowering combinations. A more than $40 billion takeover of Covidien PLC, which housed Tyco’s medical-device business, allowed U.S.-based Medtronic Inc. to invert last year.

Meanwhile, Mallinckrodt PLC, Tyco’s legacy pharmaceuticals arm, has used its lower tax rate to advantage as an acquirer. In its 2½ years as a stand-alone company, Mallinckrodt has spent nearly $11 billion on takeovers of higher-taxed U.S. drug assets.

Monday’s deal also underscores the snowball effect of inversions. As such deals pile up in a particular industry, they enable more—and—bigger companies to follow suit. That is because U.S. rules require foreign targets to be of a certain size relative to their buyers.

Witness what happened in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2013, a New-Jersey based drug company called Watson Pharmaceuticals inverted by buying a small Irish rival. After a series of deals, the resulting company—Allergan PLC, with a $117 billion market value—is big enough to serve as the inversion partner for Pfizer Inc., in what would be the largest corporate expatriation ever. The deal is pending.

And if a combined Pfizer-Allergan spins off its generics business, as is widely expected, it would create a potential inversion partner for a host of big U.S. drugmakers.

The Johnson Controls-Tyco deal is at least the 12th inversion pursued by American companies since the U.S. Department of the Treasury moved in September 2014 to curb these deals, according to a Wall Street Journal review. That is roughly the same number in the 16 months before the move.

“This is yet another example of why we need tax reform to keep our employers and jobs in America, rather than encouraging them to move overseas,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), who has pushed for a tax overhaul that would, among other changes, lower the rates U.S. companies pay. Johnson Controls is the largest public company based in Mr. Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin. The company was founded 131 years ago by a Milwaukee professor who had received a patent for the first electric thermostat.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said the deal would be “a disaster for American taxpayers” and denounced “corporate deserters.”

Johnson Controls and Tyco structured their deal to reap maximum tax benefits. By giving Johnson Controls investors less than 60% ownership of the combined company, they sidestep regulations aimed at more-lopsided combinations that might have made the deal less attractive.

Below 60 percent is the Holy Grail of inversion planning,

Inversions let U.S. companies lower their tax rates over time by giving them ways to shift profit out of the U.S. and move cash easily from low-tax jurisdictions back to shareholders.

Johnson Controls Chief Executive Alex Molinaroli said the merger wasn’t tax-driven and pointed to the roughly $500 million in annual savings expected to be wrung from combining the businesses. But, he said in an interview Monday, “we definitely get some benefits, so we’ll take those benefits.”

Back to 1997, when Tyco moved to Bermuda by acquiring home-security firm ADT, it was one of the earliest inversions. After Bermuda came under fire as a tax haven, the company moved in 2008 to Switzerland, and to Ireland in 2014, after Switzerland enacted tougher rules around CEO pay and corporate governance.

Just last week, Tyco settled a long-running dispute with the Internal Revenue Service for up to $525 million, far less than the government had sought. That controversy stemmed from what’s known as earnings stripping, the practice of using internal company transactions to concentrate tax deductions in the U.S. and profit in low-tax countries.



Reuters / January 27, 2016

[unwilling to grab hold on the matter] The White House on Wednesday declined to comment on the latest so-called tax-inversion deal by a major U.S. company, but said legislation was needed to close the loophole.

Asked at a White House briefing about a $16.5 billion deal announced on Monday by Johnson Controls to acquire Ireland-based peer Tyco International Plc, spokesman Josh Earnest said he would not comment on specific deals.

"Ultimately, we need legislation to address this loophole," he said.

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so you think her solution is the best? tax them when they are leaving instead of fixing the tax rate which would draw more company's to move here and preventing company's like Johnson Controls from leaving???

I'd hate to say any solution from Hillary is the way to go. Seriously speaking, I think she's dangerous.

There's always going to be a handful of attractive countries in which U.S. companies can gain significant tax savings. But, we can't allow these American companies that largely profit in the U.S. to move their legal home abroad for tax purposes. Their corporate ethics, morals and values should be put on the block.

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What do you guys think of Bernie Sanders?

Sanders is the only genuine one of the bunch. But he's 75 years old. Given the intense work schedule and pressure of the position, c'mon............

Out of the entire group (Sanders aside), there isn't a single individual that stands out with presidential level qualifications and experience.

The ability to vote is muted, to say the least, when neither choice is qualified to be president.

I would rather nominate a businessman, a no-nonsense professional rather than a politician.

I would vote for Bill Ford or Sergio Marchionne (Sergio was born in Italy, but I'd make a birth exception in his case).

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If the US fixed the corporate tax rate there would be no incentive for large company's to move overseas. When you consider infrastructure, laws of ownership, resources and technology the US is hard to beat until you factor in tax rate.

A company is supposed to gain market share and make a profit, as theses fluctuate innovation, technology, labor and taxes all drive the decision making. If a company is making a product that is peaked meaning it has reasonable labor rates, not much more can be done to innovate and tech has peaked, the only way to continue to make more money is in tax burdens and investments.

Most large corporations can leave the US, leave a small logistics hub and import and never look back. An example is Apple, which has $100 billion sitting in Ireland. Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada all have low corporate tax rates and a so-called territorial tax system, in which foreign source income isn't taxed.

So why should they not leave? What has the POTUS done to fix this for the US? Why would he not have done some thing about this, would it not help African Americans and Hispanics and other minorities? Instead he has done nothing but allowed more H-1B visa holders into the US to take jobs from Americans. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/us/lawsuit-claims-disney-colluded-to-replace-us-workers-with-immigrants.html?_r=0

So Hillary and Bernie are going to fix this? I doubt it, although they claim to help the poor and underprivileged what have they done to really help them other than give lip service.


"I reject your reality and substitute my own."


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Ex NYC Mayor Bloomberg is talking of running for President as an Independent and says he has ONE BILLION dollars to fund his campaign. He will decide in March if he is running. (All for his no gun agenda)



 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’


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Speaking of inversions again (U.S. companies moving their legal home abroad to reduce their taxes)


China’s Zoomlion bids $3.3 billion for Terex

The Financial Times / January 27, 2016

Caterpillar-like Chinese construction machinery maker Zoomlion has made a $3.3 billion attempt to gatecrash a deal between its US and Finnish rivals that would create one of the world’s biggest cranemakers.

Zoomlion, which makes everything from cranes to pile-drivers, has offered to buy US-based Terex, in a move that would scupper the latter’s proposed merger with Finland’s Konecranes.

Zoomlion has offered to a pay $30 per Terex share, in a deal that would value the US company’s equity at $3.3 billion.

The approach, which happened in the past several weeks, is being evaluated by Terex, even as it continues to work on closing its merger with Konecranes.

In a statement, Terex said on Tuesday that its board of directors had not changed its recommendation on the proposed merger with Konecranes.

But it added: “Terex has entered into a confidentiality agreement with Zoomlion and is in discussions with Zoomlion regarding the proposal . . . the Terex board of directors, in consultation with its legal and financial advisers, is carefully reviewing the Zoomlion proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of Terex shareholders.”

One person familiar with the matter said Shenzhen-listed Zoomlion is being advised by Goldman Sachs.

When Terex and Konecranes unveiled their merger last August, the transaction was poised to create a company with a combined market value of $5.7 billion and annual revenues of more than $10 billion.

Terex shareholders would own 60 percent of the combined group, while their counterparts at Konecranes would hold the remainder. Stig Gustavson, chairman of Konecranes, would have the same role at the enlarged group.

Importantly, the transaction was structured as a so-called tax inversion. This would allow Terex to reduce its corporate tax rate by redomiciling to Finland, where Konecranes is headquartered.

But shares in Terex and Konecranes had previously fallen 44 and 41 percent respectively since last August due to concerns about slowing economic growth and the effect that would have on manufacturers of industrial equipment.

On Tuesday, shares in Terex rose 36 percent to $20.48 in New York after the company’s statement about the Zoomlion offer. Konecranes’ stock had earlier closed 9.1 percent higher at €20.79 in Helsinki.

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Sanders is the only genuine one of the bunch. But he's 75 years old. Given the intense work schedule and pressure of the position, c'mon............

Out of the entire group (Sanders aside), there isn't a single individual that stands out with presidential level qualifications and experience.

The ability to vote is muted, to say the least, when neither choice is qualified to be president.

I would rather nominate a businessman, a no-nonsense professional rather than a politician.

I would vote for Bill Ford or Sergio Marchionne (Sergio was born in Italy, but I'd make a birth exception in his case).

Most professional, no-nonsense successful businessmen who would possess all the good presidential qualities most likely also possess the good sense not to run for public office.


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Reuters / January 27, 2016

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that she would consider making investment income taxable through Social Security deductions in a bid to keep the government program afloat.

“I am worried about certain recipients because I think it’s important to enhance the benefits,” Clinton said.

“We do have to extend the life of the trust fund and that’s going to take some new funding,” she said.

Clinton would consider raising to an undisclosed amount the maximum income that would be subject to the 6.2 percent Social Security tax.

Under the current rule, money made from investments, as well as pensions, annuities and interest, are not considered income, and only the first $118,500 wages are subject to the tax.

Fears over the solvency of the Social Security system have made it an important election issue.

Clinton's main rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, has described Social Security as the nation's "most successful government program," and has called for its expansion, which he says will be paid for by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ford's Mexico expansion plans amount to a nice gift for Trump

Automotive News / November 9, 2016

So as it turns out, Donald Trump was right about Ford Motor Co. Sort of.

Last year, Trump criticized Ford for starting to build a new assembly plant in Mexico to take production away from the U.S. It hadn’t.

He threatened to put a 35 percent tax on all the vehicles Ford would import from Mexico. He can’t.

He also said Ford was closing plants “all over Michigan” to go to Mexico. It wasn’t.

Then he said he persuaded Ford to reverse those plans. He didn’t.

But now, news has leaked out that Ford is, in fact, planning to build a big, new assembly plant south of the border. It’s also expected to expand a plant that’s already there. Together, the projects will more than double Ford’s production capacity in Mexico. Within a few years, Mexico could account for more than 30 percent of Ford’s North American vehicle production, up from 14 percent last year.

Thus, Trump’s criticism of Ford was based on information that he made up but later became true. I have to think that someone who can predict the future would make a very good president. Of course, he also picked Carolina to win the Super Bowl and forgot to walk on stage when his name was called at the New Hampshire debate, so maybe he just got lucky this time.

Ford hasn’t confirmed it’s building a new plant in Mexico, but word is that an announcement should come by the end of March. You know, right in the heart of primary season, when the candidates are eager to latch onto any issue they think can win votes.

Announcing a big expansion in Mexico would be a huge, perfectly timed gift to Trump after Ford spent the past few months trying to tell everyone that Trump’s criticism was off base.

“It’s a shame that the facts get lost in the politics,” Ford CEO Mark Fields told Automotive News in December when asked about Trump’s badgering of the automaker. “Our approach is always to just say here are the facts. And the facts are since 2011 we’ve invested over $10 billion [in the U.S.]. We’ve created over 25,000 jobs. We do our part, and we take it very seriously, to support economic development here in the U.S. We’ll continue to just lay the facts out when sometimes they’re obscured.”

In addition to Trump, the UAW is upset about Ford’s Mexico expansion. Just last week, UAW President Dennis Williams took aim at Ford and General Motors for ramping up output south of the border instead of at unionized plants in the U.S., while their profits pile up. GM is investing $5 billion to double its capacity in Mexico, too.

“The fact of the matter is companies continue to run to lower-wage countries to get larger margins on vehicles,” Williams said. “How much profit do you really need to make?”

The UAW opened the door to exactly this result during contract negotiations last fall. Workers were focused on getting their first raises in a decade and eliminating the two-tier pay system that divided factory floors, so to achieve those gains they allowed Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler to go outside the U.S. for more of their production.

Take the Fusion, Ford’s top-selling sedan. In 2011, the UAW got Ford to commit to building a portion of its Fusions in Michigan, in addition to Mexico. But last year, the union agreed to let Ford consolidate Fusion production in Mexico again.

Ford agreed to invest $9 billion in the U.S. to create or retain 8,500 jobs over the next four years -- down from $16 billion and 12,000 jobs promised in the 2011 contract. (It ended up exceeding both of the 2011 figures.)

Without a compelling reason to expand in the U.S. now, Ford is choosing Mexico instead. UAW members can certainly be mad about that, but they also need to look at their higher paychecks and the contract they ratified less than three months ago.

Meanwhile, Ford can expect another round of election-year attacks from Trump -- and possibly other candidates -- after its plans in Mexico become fully public. And this time, he wouldn’t even have to make up the facts.

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